My top six TV series… for the nonce

I’m a latecomer to the TV series mania that seems to have everyone in its grip, what with them being so readily available in the DVD and Blu-Ray formats, not to mention file sharing.

Having only ever watched documentary type series before, I picked up Season One of Dexter from a music store around 2010 when the series was already in its 5th season I think, and have been hooked ever since.

Here are my top six television series since then:


6. The Vampire Diaries/True Blood

It was difficult to choose between the two, so I’ve decided to place them both in sixth position, being of the same genre. Being a skeptic, I find the supernatural most unappealing, but this is pure escapism. At any rate the love triangles in these two are not as awful and soppy as Twilight.

5. Boardwalk Empire

I dig period dramas and the Prohibition era in the USA is particularly fascinating, and so is moral ambiguity. Which boy doesn’t like blazing sub-machine guns? And Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, is brilliant.

4. Dexter

I don’t normally like police drama series, since authority figures are a big turn-off for me. Also having lived in a police state under apartheid for many years, I don’t particularly like the Police. But Dexter Morgan the dark hero working as a forensic detective who moonlight’s as a serial killer, makes all the difference.

3. Game of Thrones

This series which has just completed airing series 3 in most places around the world has everyone’s attention in a spellbind. It would have featured higher on my favorites list, were it not for the fact that I’m already well into reading Book 5 of the epic fantasy series by George R.R. Martin, and I’m a little disappointed by the liberties taken by the Producers to change the events and characterisation when making GoT.

If you’re gobsmacked by the events in the finale of season three, there’s much more of that to come in future series… if the Producers don’t deviate too much with events as occurring in the book. But I’m giving nothing away here.

2. Breaking Bad

The pairing of Walter White a goody-two-shoes high school chemistry teacher, and Jesse Pinkman a wannabe drug dealer who cooks up his own meth into a duo of bumbling crooks, was a stroke of brilliance. Dark heroes are normally fascinating, but this pair is special. It will be sad to say farewell to these guys at the end of the fifth season as is currently being planned, but a 16-episoder may make up for it.

1. The Big Bang Theory

Hands up anyone who doesn’t like comedy? Well, fark you! Situation comedy doesn’t come any better than this. At one time, I used to think that nothing would top Third Rock From The Sun, but BBT shades it, if only just. Chuck Lorre is a genius, along with Bill Prady and Steven Molaro.

This is a comedy about science which I’m nuts about, and that about wraps it up for me. The cast of Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Penny, Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothappali have had me in stitches in every single episode. Geekiness has never looked this appealing.

Sadly I’m nearing the end of viewing season six, and I’m dreading those imminent withdrawal symptoms. I’m holding thumbs for more seasons. Please make it happen writer-producer-network guys.

A special mention goes to The Walking Dead and Homeland. And oh! I’ve just acquired entire series of Spartacus, including the prequel… But I’ve not watched nearly enough yet to make me want to topple anything from the list above. But who knows…

***nonce (n), which I came across in Game of Thrones is an old Middle English word meaning “particular” or “present occasion/instance,” and NOT the British and Australian slang term for sexual offender. 🙂

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin

I’ll bet more people have watched the first two seasons than read the first two books by George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Who can blame them – the television series is without doubt superb in almost every respect.

But the books are so much better.

I’ve just completed reading the first two books (volumes).There’s probably hundreds of reviews for Martin’s epic fantasy elsewhere, so I’m not going to add my two cents worth here. My aim is to advocate for the actual reading of each and every volume in this collection, instead of just watching the television series.

While the first TV series kept pretty much faithful to the book narrative of Book One, the second series strayed quite a bit. Whole scenes were filmed out of sequence with the book and even actions were attributed to characters who did no such thing in the book. Even locations where key events occurred did not correspond with Martin’s narrative. [You’ll have to read the books to find out what the main differences are between the book narrative and the filmed series, because I’m not going to list them. Alternatively this wiki does].

I guess it’s a near impossible task fitting around 1200 pages of a book into a 10-episode TV series, but if the overall essence of what Martin was trying to convey, is not bastardized too much, I guess it’s okay. In fairness, the TV series does do justice to the books.

However, I urge you to read each volume because there’s just so much more in the books. I’ve started reading the third volume in the series A Storm of Swords, and will be hoping that the third season which has just started flighting in some parts of the world, will not deviate as much as Season Two did.